Thousands in far-right protest against Belgian 'anti-Flemish' coalition

Belgium's far-right Vlaams Belang party rallies against alliance of socialists, liberals and ecologists

Water town in Belgium.
Powered by automated translation

Thousands of far-right supporters in Belgium have protested against what they call an "anti-Flemish" coalition government taking shape.

Supporters of Belgium's Vlaams Belang party parked more than 4,500 vehicles flying yellow flags with the black Flemish lion in the car park of an exhibition centre, north of the Belgian capital.

Vlaams Belang is the second strongest political force in Belgium's Flemish region after the nationalist N-VA party.

Party president Tom Van Grieken, addressing the crowd, called on the N-VA to join its fight against "this anti-Flemish and left-wing government", the party's Twitter account said.

Belgium has had no stable parliamentary majority since December 2018, and legislative elections in May last year only made it more complicated.

Rival Dutch and French-speaking parties have struggled to agree on a programme.

Now a seven-party coalition is nearing consolidation, with socialists, liberals and ecologists from the two linguistic regions, along with a Flemish Christian-Democratic party.

French-speaking liberal Sophie Wilmes is serving as a caretaker Prime Minister, conducting everyday business, but her three-party, centre-right coalition controls only 38 of 150 seats in Parliament.

Those charged with putting together the government were set to present the coalition accord to the king on Monday.

The new line-up will face a vote of confidence in Parliament, probably on Thursday.